Aug 11, 2020  
Course Catalog 2019-2020 
Course Catalog 2019-2020


The college’s Connections program provides an exciting way to explore different areas of academic knowledge and multiple approaches to problems. The concept is simple but powerful and unique to Wheaton: organizing courses around a common theme.

For example:

African Worlds links ANTH 225 - Peoples and Cultures of Africa  with ENG 245 - Childhood in African Fiction  and/or MUSC 212 - World Music: Africa and the Americas  and/or HIST 143 - Africans on Africa: A Survey  and/or POLS 203 - African Politics .

Genes in Context links COMP 242 - DNA  with PHIL 111 - Ethics . All Wheaton students must take either two two-course connections (a total of four courses) or one set of three connected courses. Students are also invited to discover their own possible linked courses and to approach the faculty and propose a Connection. See Student-Initiated Connections.

You will be encouraged to take linked courses in the same or adjoining semesters and to get started early in your career. (Note that if the chosen Connections do not include courses from all three of the traditional academic divisions—arts and humanities, natural sciences and social sciences—students will be expected to take at least one course in the missing division(s). Faculty advisors help students plan accordingly.)

Note: All courses taken for a connection must be taken at Wheaton.

Student-Initiated Connections

Students may propose a two or three-course Connection to the Committee on Educational Policy by following these steps:

You must not have already completed all courses for the Connection at the time of the proposal. The final date to submit the proposal is the last day to drop a course without record deadline of the semester in which you plan to take the last course of the Connection. Refer to the academic calendar on the web for the specific date for this semester. Seniors: Self-Initiated Connection proposals will NOT be accepted in your final semester.

A proposed two-course Connection must link courses from at least two different Areas; a three-course Connection must link courses from three areas: History, Creative Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Math/CS.

The faculty teaching each course in the Connection must approve the proposed Connection.

One course cannot be used in two Connections.

You cannot use English 101, Writing, or First Year Seminar in a Self-Initiated Connection. When including an Independent Study in your proposal, you must also submit a statement that includes a full description of the Independent Study, plus the reading list. It is the responsibility of the student to provide this and not the faculty member.

Note: All courses taken for a connection must be taken at Wheaton.

Guidelines for Student-initiated Connections

The following principles codify the practice since 2010 of the Connections Subcommittee of the Educational Policy Committee, and are posted by Joel Relihan, Associate Provost, on Oct. 25, 2012.

  1. It is hard to convince the committee about the connection value of a survey or introductory course. The breadth of survey courses is so large that it could likely connect to many other courses and is almost a connection unto itself. This seems to violate the spirit of the connection component of the curriculum. Aim to connect courses beyond the introductory level.
    Along these lines, think of serial vs. parallel work. A course that leads into another is serial in nature and may be more of a prerequisite than a true connection. Two courses that are at the same level are parallel and it may be easier to convince the committee of a connection between the two. Exceptions to this might be in the field of performing and studio arts, where often the culminating performance depends on the integration and connectedness of the various courses that lead up to that final piece of work.
  2. Stating the content that is common to two or three courses may be useful, but this alone does not justify a connection. Look for a meaningful, deeper connection between the courses.
  3. Similarly, merely stating that there is already an existing connection between courses similar to those in your proposal does not automatically justify the proposed connection or convince the committee of your connection.
  4. Support your rationale for the proposed connection with specific examples in your essay. For example, which assignments in either course could be used to demonstrate the connection between courses?
  5. Be sure to reflect on the connection in both directions. There is a synergy between courses that enhances the overall experience; the sum is greater that the individual parts. How is your view of one course influenced by the other? What more can you get out of taking “course A” once you have also taken “course B”—and vice versa?
  6. If you are proposing to connect a course that contains a practicum experience, be sure not to neglect the remainder of the coursework; that is, the reading and discussion that you do in the classroom and away from your field placement site. While the experiential component may be the larger part of the course, do not disregard other course material.
  7. If you are proposing to connect a math course, be sure to demonstrate that the math is more than just a tool to better understand the other course. For example, calculus is fundamental to the quantitative nature of economics. The math course in this case is nearly a prerequisite to the economics course. On the other hand, the use of statistics in an anthropology course connects two disciplines that are normally not associated in such a way. In sum: Connections should provide breadth across the liberal arts curriculum more than depth in a particular subject area. Strive to do more than simply show how a tool, idea, or concept learned in one course is applied in another.

Connections Descriptions and Courses